These days gas is getting pricey. The last thing you want to do is waste fuel due to a leak on your Ariens snowblower. A gas leak and fumes can be dangerous when the snowblower is placed near flammable sources. When you see or smell a fuel leak, you must fix it right away.
A likely place an Ariens snowblower begins leaking is the carburetor float, carburetor float needle, and gasket around the carburetor bowl. An Ariens snowblower can also leak from the fuel lines, fuel filter, fuel pump, shut-off valve, fuel cap, primer bulb, and fuel tank.
Before you start looking for a fuel leak, make sure you are working in a ventilated area. Gas fumes are harmful. Protect your skin and eyes. Follow all safety precautions outlined in your Ariens operator’s manual.
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Follow all safety instructions provided in your equipment operator’s manual before diagnosing, repairing, or operating. Consult a professional if you don’t have the skills, or knowledge or are not in the condition to perform the repair safely.
10 Reasons Your Ariens Snowblower Leaks Gas
Carburetor Bowl Gasket Failure
Take a look at the carburetor. On the bottom of the carburetor, you will find the carburetor bowl. Once gas leaves the fuel tank a little gas is stored in this fuel bowl.
Gas can leak from the fuel bowl when the o-ring gasket fails to seal the bowl to the carburetor.
This gasket looks like a thin rubber band. Because it is located close to the engine, the stress on the gasket from the engine heating up and cooling down can cause the gasket to become dry, brittle, and prone to failure.
The gasket will no longer create a good seal resulting in gas leaking from the bowl.
Replace the carburetor bowl gasket:
Replacing the o-ring gasket is a simple process. First, you need to purchase the correct gasket. To ensure you get the right one, get the model and spec details off the engine.
Don’t confuse these numbers with the model and serial number of the snowblower. With this right information, you can buy the correct gasket at your local small engine dealer or online.
- Once you have the replacement gasket, shut off the fuel supply to the snowblower. Use the fuel-shut-off valve located at the bottom of the fuel tank or hose pinch pliers to crimp the fuel line.
- Wipe around the carburetor so you don’t introduce any dirt to the carburetor when you remove the bowl.
- Unscrew the screw at the bottom of the carburetor and drop the bowl down.
- Remove the old gasket and install the new gasket.
- Reinstall the bowl and tighten the screw.
- Turn the fuel back on. Wipe down the carburetor bowl and make sure there are no more leaks coming from the carburetor.
Stuck Carburetor Float
If you continue to find leaks coming from your Ariens carburetor after you checked and replaced the carburetor bowl gasket, take a look at the opening of the carburetor by the air intake port.
The float can become stuck allowing too much fuel in the carburetor resulting in it overflowing and running out of the carburetor.
The float kind of acts like the gatekeeper that regulates how much gas is stored in the carburetor bowl.
When it doesn’t function properly because it becomes stuck with old fuel deposits, the carburetor will need to be removed, disassembled, and cleaned. Any broken parts must be replaced.
Use the steps at the bottom of the page to clean your Ariens carburetor. If you don’t mind working with small parts and are a little mechanical, you should be able to handle cleaning the carburetor yourself.
If you are not mechanical or just not interested in attempting to take on the task, a small engine mechanic can perform the cleaning and rebuilding if required.
Stuck Carburetor Float Needle
When checking for a stuck float, take a look at the float needle. This is what really keeps the gas flowing into the bowl with the help of the carburetor float. The float needle can become stuck as well.
You can attempt to “unstick” the float needle by gently tapping the carburetor with a rubber mallet or the rubber handle on a tool. This is only a temporary fix and may work a time or two.
Eventually, you will need to remove the carburetor and rebuild it.
Dry & Cracked Fuel Lines
Over time, the fuel lines will dry out forming cracks that are prone to leaking. Another place the lines can leak is at the point where they are secured to the fuel components. The clamps can puncture the lines and cause them to leak.
Replace a snowblower fuel line:
- Turn off the fuel supply using the fuel shut-off valve located at the bottom of the fuel tank. If you don’t have a shut-off valve on your snowblower, use pinch pliers to crimp the fuel line to stop the flow.
- Remove the clamps securing the fuel line in place. Remove the fuel line.
- Install clamps and a new piece of fuel line of the same diameter and length as the line removed. If you find pinch-style clamps used on your snowblower, you may want to switch to a worm gear clamp which is less likely to puncture the fuel line.
- Turn on your fuel flow.
Deteriorating or Weak Seams on the Fuel Tank
A fuel tank can fail and start leaking. If you have a metal tank on your Ariens snowblower, the tank can begin to rust and develop holes.
Replace a metal fuel tank if you are still able to get one. If not, you can try to patch it using a product like JB Weld.
The other style of fuel tank used on a snowblower is made of high-density polyethylene. The seams can fail on this type of tank and begin to leak. When a leak is found, it is best to replace the fuel tank.
Leaking Fuel Valve
The fuel shut-off valve on a snowblower can be made of plastic or metal. Both kinds of valves can fail and start leaking. Replace a valve when you find it is leaking.
Cracked or Old Fuel Filter
If your Ariens uses a fuel filter, you may find it is leaking due to damage or old age. Old gas sitting in your fuel filter will cause the plastic to begin to degrade and soften.
The fuel filter will begin leaking at the seams when the filter breaks down.
It’s best to replace the fuel filter annually to keep dirt from entering the fuel system and avoid leakage due to the age of the filter. A filter that is leaking must be replaced with a new fuel filter.
Be careful removing an old inline filter from the fuel lines. The plastic may be soft and can break off in the fuel lines.
Install a new filter using the arrow on the side of the filter as a reference to make sure it is installed correctly. The arrow must be pointed in the direction of the fuel flow.
Bad Fuel Pump
Just like the Ariens fuel filter can break down, the plastic in your fuel pump can also begin to deteriorate due to fuel. Most fuel pumps used on Ariens snowblowers are plastic.
When gas sits in the fuel pump for a number of years, it can begin to rot from the inside out. The diaphragm will leak and the seams of the pump can begin leaking just like the seams in the fuel tank. Replace a leaking fuel pump with a new one.
Bad Gas Cap
When using your snowblower, gas sloshes around in the fuel tank. It can end up leaking out of the fuel cap area when the seal in the cap dries out.
Sometimes you will spot gas around the fuel cap, but most of the time you may just smell fuel odor filling your storage area.
This is because gas evaporates leaving no signs of a wet area. If you continually smell gas and can’t find a leak after checking the items above, check the fuel tank cap seal.
Do this by carefully rocking your snowblower back and forth to splash gas up to the cap area.
Watch for a wet spot to develop around the cap area outside of the fuel cap. Replace the fuel cap when you find a leak.
Weak Primer Bulb
Some Ariens snowblowers will have a primer bulb to prime the carburetor when starting the snowblower. The primer bulb can leak fuel when the bulb fills with fuel.
Other times, you will find a leak where the primer bulb connects to the fuel line or when the primer bulb becomes weak and brittle.
Steps to Clean an Ariens Snowblower Carburetor
1. Spray Carb Cleaner to Minimize Carbon Buildup
Spray some carburetor cleaner in the air intake. Start the engine to see if it will run. If your snowblower fires up and still won’t stay running then we need to get inside the carburetor.
2. Gather Pliers, Screwdriver, Sockets & Ratchets
Get together tools so you don’t destroy parts while taking the carburetor apart.
3. Take Photo for Reassembly
These days most people have a handy camera on their phones. It’s a very good idea to take a picture of the carburetor so you can refer to it if you don’t remember how to reassemble it after tearing it apart.
You will want to make sure you get a photo showing how the linkage and springs go back on the carburetor.
4. Remove Throttle Cable & Choke Cable
Not every snowblower has a throttle and choke cable. If your snowblower does, remove the cables at this time.
5. Remove Springs
Slowly remove the springs so you don’t stretch them out too much. You may have to twist the carb a bit to get the springs off. Also, watch the gasket at this point so you don’t tear it.
This is the gasket located between the engine block and the carburetor.
6. Remove Screw Off Float Bowl
The float bowl is where gasoline is stored inside the carburetor. It should have gas in it so have a rag ready to catch the gas. Remove the screw at the bottom of the bowl
7. Remove Bowl
Remove the bowl being careful to not damage the o-ring around it. Caution: Do not get any carb cleaner or any other chemical on the o-ring. It will stretch out and you won’t be able to reuse it.
8. Inspect the Stem for Clogged Holes
Inspect the stem for clogged holes. This stem hangs down from the center of the carburetor and has holes in it. If these holes get plugged from old fuel it will not draw fuel up to the jet.
If the holes are plugged, take a thick wire to clean them out. It’s easier to see what you’re doing if you use a flashlight. Once you get the holes clean you can rinse them with carb cleaner.
9. Inspect the Carburetor
Inspect the carburetor for hard crusty white buildup. This white buildup is fuel additives including ethanol. You need to try to get as much of the white power material out as you can. It’s nearly impossible to get it all out.
10. Reassemble the Carburetor
Reassemble the carburetor now that the carb is clean. Put it back together in the reverse order you took it apart. Remember to refer to the photo you took of the carburetor when reassembling so all parts are reinstalled in the right places.
11. Add Fuel Supply with Fuel Stabilizer
Add fresh fuel that contains fuel stabilizers like Sea Foam or STA-BIL before you start your Ariens snowblower. Pour the fuel into the tank and give it a chance to fill the bowl of the carburetor.
Start your engine. If you are starting with a pull cord, give the rope a yank. It may not start on the first pull, but it should start after several pulls and continue to run.
I go into more detail about fuel stabilizers and the one I like to use in The Best Fuel Additive for Your Snowblower.